Fear, like all effective lies, is a half-truth…it is a necessary understanding, but it is incomplete. Fear is meant to be accompanied by a qualifier, and that qualifier is peace.
A contradiction, you say? At surface level, perhaps. But a closer look at how the terms are defined often resolves such apparent paradoxes.
Fear is often associated with terror, which is certainly the antithesis of peace. Most dictionaries list this idea as one definition of fear. But the other — and I believe truer — sense of the word fear is not one of mere terror. Instead, it is simply a rational and emotional recognition of the magnitude and power of its object.
Without peace, fear does indeed produce terror. But with peace, it produces awe and reverence. Really, then, the lie is not fear itself, but the absence of its qualifying counterpart: peace.
“…continue working our your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort — for the sake of his good pleasure — is God..”
— Philippians 2:12b-13
“Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
— Philippians 4:6-7